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"Spectacle: The Music Video Exhibition" opens at The Australian Centre for the Moving Image
ACMI Spectacle Exhibition: Dance Stage. Photo: Mark Gambino.

MELBOURNE.- The Australian Centre for the Moving Image launched its next major exhibition, Spectacle: The Music Video Exhibition, a groundbreaking and sensory exploration of music video as a contemporary art form, that opened Thursday 26 September 2013.

Spectacle is the most comprehensive exhibition on music video presented to date, featuring over 300 works, taking the visitor through a labyrinth of sound, movement and vision.

Speaking at the launch, ACMI Director Tony Sweeney said that Spectacle is at home in Melbourne.

“We are thrilled to open this immersive display of music video. Spectacle is perfectly set in Melbourne, among a thriving live music scene, and in the home some of the nation’s most successful musical and filmmaking talents, many of which appear in this international exhibition.”

“As one of the most important artistic expressions of our time, music video has continually captured the zeitgeist and its creators have produced some of the most beguiling visual experiments in the history of the moving image,” said Tony.

Visiting Australia for the opening, Spectacle curators Jonathan Wells and Meg Grey Wells of Flux, a global creative community and collective that programs film and art events around the world, said that Australia’s diverse contribution to music videos across decades makes ACMI the perfect setting for the exhibition.

“With its innovative filmmakers, iconic music acts and pioneering music television programs, Australia has played a key role in the rich history of music video. That’s why we are incredibly excited to openSpectacle at ACMI, in particular in Melbourne,” he said. “Melbourne is the city that gave the world Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue, The Avalanches, The Temper Trap, and Gotye; artists whose creative collaborations have produced the world-renowned music videos featured in this exhibition," said Jonathan.

“Music videos are the playground of film directors and cinematographers, who use cutting-edge special effects and visual technologies to change the way that music is promoted and consumed. This exhibition is designed to highlight the central place of these landmark music videos in popular culture,” added Meg Grey Wells.

Presented across nine thematic sections, Spectacle is experienced through a dynamic fusion of interactive installations, projections, videos and immersive environments, including recreated sets and original objects never before seen outside of the videos themselves.

Spectacle brims with music video history, from the earliest sound films of musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith and Cab Calloway, through to the latest online sensations. The exhibition features promotional videos for pioneers such as Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and David Bowie, innovators such as Devo, Björk, and the Beastie Boys, and icons such as Madonna, U2, and Nirvana. Spectacle spotlights the MTV masters who expertly used the medium to define their public identities, through to artists like OK Go, Lady Gaga and Kanye West who follow in their footsteps today.

The music videos featured in the exhibition span the experimental and the extravagant, the political and the provocative, as well as epic productions which cross the boundary into short film, demonstrating that creative ingenuity is the key to creating a perfect marriage of sound and vision.

Some of the world’s most innovative cinematic figures, who developed their signature style through experimentation with music video, such as Michel Gondry (The White Stripes, The Chemical Brothers), Spike Jonze (Björk, Fatboy Slim), and Mark Romanek (Lenny Kravitz, Jay Z) feature throughout Spectacle.

ACMI, with the assistance of ABC TV’s rage, has curated an additional 40 Australian music videos into Spectacle, demonstrating the impact of Australian music video locally and abroad. Australian directors featured in the show include; Natasha Pincus, the director of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know; Darcy Prendegast, the director of Bombay Bicycle Club’s Beg; Leo Baker, the director of Children Collide’s Praying for Sunshine; Ray Argall, the director of Midnight Oil’s Power and the Passion, and Richard Lowenstein, the director for numerous music videos for INXS. Other Australian artists featured include ACDC, Skyhooks, Yothu Yindi, Bertie Blackman, and more, as well as Australian television program Countdown, which impacted music globally in the 70s and 80s and made Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum a household name.

A series of film, public and education programs run alongside the exhibition, including Gotye and His Collaborators which brings Gotye together with four of his music video directors for one night only.

Spectacle made its international debut at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Centre (CAC) and has since been seen by audiences in Sao Paulo and New York, receiving widespread popular and critical acclaim.

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